Printmaking without a press

June 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

If you know me, you know I love layers. And I love printmaking. Printmaking is one of the best ways to create layers and texture. Last year (or was it two years?) I learned Gelatin Plate printmaking from one of my printmaking friends, artist Lisa Zukowski ( Gelatin printmaking allows for printmaking without a press. The results are immediate and although I have a press in my studio, I loved it, because it allows for the juxtapositioning, layering and texture build up that I love to work with. And it has a unique texture that the ink/gelatin interaction creates. The making of the plate is a hassle, though, and requires planning and time–I like to work as spontaneously as possible. You have to mix  Knox gelatin in the right proportions and build a framework out of clay for it to set on a piece of glass and then you wait.  It also needs refrigeration, is fragile and lasts only a couple of days or so.

I haven’t printed in almost a year. I have been working with painting and collage, and teaching art journaling. So when I found out about the Gelli Plate (, a pre-made gelatin-like plate that doesn’t require the plate manufacture, the refrigeration, and has a longer shelf life than a traditional gelatin plate, I had to try it.  I bought two in the 8″ x 10″ size and invited fellow printmaker Elizabeth Winchester over to put it through its paces…

First of all, using printing ink instead of the recommended acrylic paint was a critical move. It  allows for a longer working time and greater adhesion of the layers of color. Also, I am more familiar the inking process this way. Secondly, printing on good Stonehenge paper allowed for a richer print as well as something archival if a great print was created.

Here’s some of my results:

One print is on Stonehenge. The other print is on copy paper. In both cases I used Daniel Smith Relief printing ink with extender.

Fun! Fun! And now it is in the studio waiting for another print session. Just take it out of the plastic package and go to it! I love it! Thanks, Gelliarts! Be looking for more prints from me in the future.

Gelli print on Stonehenge

Test print from Gelli plate on copy paper


§ 6 Responses to Printmaking without a press

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